Jihadist who lived on the dole in Australia arrested in Iraq
Australian citizen has been arrested by coalition forces in Iraq on suspicion of conspiring to commit terrorist acts.
Warya Kanie, 39, an Iraqi Kurd, came to Australia about three years ago with his young daughter as part of the humanitarian refugee program to join his three brothers, who were already living in Adelaide.
Mr Kanie, who had divorced his wife, was living in a housing trust apartment on unemployment benefits and receiving additional benefits as a single father. A member of the Australian Iraqi community, who spoke to The Weekend Australian on condition of anonymity, said Mr Kanie was a Sunni and "had extremist views".
Mr Kanie left Adelaide about seven months ago, after gaining Australian citizenship, telling his family that he was going to look for a new wife in Iraq. But he allegedly told a friend that he was leaving Australian "to go on jihad". Mr Kanie is alleged to have been staunchly opposed to the occupation of Iraq and supported terrorist acts against Western forces and Iraqis co-operating with them.
Sharif Ali bin Hussein, imam of the Marion Road mosque in Adelaide's southern suburbs where Mr Kanie is thought to have worshipped, denied through an interpreter knowing him.
Mr Kanie travelled to Jordan with his daughter, whom he left with his sister before going on to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Coalition forces detained Mr Kanie for allegedly engaging in anti-coalition activities in Baghdad in mid-October.
He has since been held as a security internee. A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs said consular officials met Mr Kanie on November 10 and spoke to him by phone on December 15.
UN Security Council Resolution 1637, under which Mr Kanie is being held, extended the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq until the end of last year. "He is well," the spokesperson said. "Officials in Canberra are in touch with his next of kin."
Mr Kanie's family expressed concern in Adelaide yesterday at the lack of information on why he was being held. "Why he is in the prison, I have absolutely no idea," his brother Danna said.
Danna Kanie told The Weekend Australian a meeting with ASIO officials a few weeks ago had shed little light on the circumstances of his arrest.
"They've got no information at all," he said. "They're just waiting for information from Iraq. I don't know if they have moved Warya and didn't tell me."
Danna Kanie said he had not seen his brother in the past two years. "We've got problems," Danna said. "I didn't like to see him anymore." Another brother, Zaniar, said that Warya Kanie had gone to Baghdad looking for a wife, "as is our culture".
"Until now, they say there is no proof, no evidence (against him)" he said. An Australian Iraqi told The Weekend Australian that the rift between Mr Kanie and his brothers might have developed because he was the only fundamentalist in the family.
Labor Leader Kevin Rudd today said the Federal Government should be giving Mr Kanie as much support as possible.
"Every Australian abroad who finds himself in trouble deserves legitimate consular support from the Australian Government,'' Mr Rudd said "That's partly why we pay our taxes, to make sure that when you're overseas at any given time you run into trouble with the law or other sorts of trouble, that there are appropriate levels of Australian Government support abroad.''